Friday, June 01, 2007


Bright Lights in Dusky Times

Having relieved my crabby self of peeves a couple of days ago, I now turn to that first requirement of spiritual wealth, gratitude. Remember the wonderful title of Arundati Roy's book, The God of Small Things? I find myself deeply appreciative of the following:

My job and my colleagues--Here we all are, in a bootleg version of a photo taken to promote our upcoming open house. These women are amazing--smart, compassionate, and very funny. I am grateful for them daily. (Click picture for bigger!)

Ruth Bader Ginsberg's recent dissents from the bench--Ginsberg has dissented from the bench twice in the last five weeks to take the majority to task, first for upholding the ban on partial birth abortion (their term, not mine), and most recently in the case of Ledbetter v Good Year Tire for flagrant sexual discimination in pay inequity. Dubya has certainly gotten the yes-men he sought in his two additions to the court, and it's hideous to note how long we will be stuck with them --and important to work very hard to get a Democrat who has the best chance to beat a Republican to reverse this hideous trend. In the meantime I am grateful to Ginsberg for speaking in such a public venue. It isn't often done.

Diane Rehm, for being Diane Rehm--This lady is simply a miracle--a combination of hard-won dignity and class. Last year I listened to her book, Finding My Voice on CD. I've always admired the way she handles her interviews on her NPR show. I have noticed a so-called increased "balance" in her guests; in these Repugnican times I am sure that she and her staff have been under the gun. However, she remains as focused and firm as ever as she manages the bullshit coming from Bush Administration mouthpieces. She's so amazing, and here I salute her: Diane Rehm, always a lady, but never a chump.

Leadbelly, a brilliant book of poems by Tyehimba Jess-- I discovered Jess's book too late for my National Poetry Month celebration, but it's one of the finest books of poems I've ever read. It's an evocative work on the life of bluesman Huddie Ledbetter (two Ledbetters in one post, I see), and his sheer mastery of language and insight into Ledbetter's life, and by extension, the lives of many black artists taken under white wings, is simply amazing. I checked it out from our library, then wanted to share it with everyone I know... only I couldn't bear to check it back in till I had a copy of my own. I treated myself to Jess's book and a new CD of Leadbelly's songs. I do highly recommend such an action to anyone who loves the blues. Jess is one of our finest young poets, and I find myself reading his work again and again.

Check out this short piece on the young Leadbelly trying a gun on for size, from the point of view of the gun:

colt protection special

his daddy brings him to me
fresh and fifteen, a boy beggin'
to know me like a virgin
wind risin' to fuck a hurricane.

while his fist cloaks me
with the hush of broken youth,
i singe my bullet-toothed birth-
right into his fingertips. he hefts
my black powdered blue steel
mass, aims high to heaven,
wonders how easy it is to slip
into god's dirty clothes.

Writing like that makes me grateful for language, and Jess nails his ideas again and again. The most consistent, excellent book of poems I've read in years.

Thanks for the uplifting post. Gratitude is a beautiful emotion and one I need to reflect on daily because it is so healthy and it helps others in so many ways. I like the way your gratitude was expressed by people who have impacted your life.
I meant expressed towards people who....
Lulu, you work with Laura Bush? Laura Bush is a great American, and let me just add, Lynne Cheney is as great a historian as Laura Bush is a librarian, and our country would be damn fortunate to have her as first lady.
Woooooo . . . I was just going to thank you for the recommendation for the Ledbetter book (I love his music), when I saw the cheney08 post above. What's that about?? I will now take a look! Meanwhile, keep up the great commentaries!
I think that Cheeneyh08 is to Dick Cheney what Sister Nancy Beth Eczema (of Edicts of Nancy) is to Christianity, Sigrid. I'm looking forward to more of his supportive (of the Dick) posts.
Ah, Lulu, I love Leadbelly. When I was a girl, I knew the Chess kids, who's father was Chess Records. And Leadbelly, and Howlin Wolf, used to record there, in Chicago. And we used to go hang out - it was amazing.

As for Cheney08, he is as much a patriot as Sister Nancy Beth Exzema is spiritual.
I see you in the top pic and you haven't changed a bit.
Be still my unfulfilled heart.
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